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Media Release: July 9, 2019
Episcopal Church in Connecticut
Offices: The Commons, 290 Pratt Street Box 52, Meriden CT 06450
Media contact (and for interview requests): Alison Hollo, ahollo@episcopalct.org

Episcopal Church in Connecticut Prevails in Court Battles Over St. Paul’s, Darien

On July 2, 2019, the Connecticut Superior Court dismissed a lawsuit in which the former Wardens and Vestry members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Darien, Connecticut sought to seize control of the property of St. Paul’s, which they had lost when the 2018 Annual Convention of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (“ECCT”) voted unanimously to change St. Paul’s from a Parish to a Worshiping Community.

This decision follows the Superior Court’s dismissal, in April, of fraud claims asserted by the former Wardens and Vestry members against the Rev. Canon George I. Kovoor, formerly Rector and now Priest-In-Charge at St. Paul’s.

These dismissals affirm that the Constitution and Canons of the Church govern its member congregations and end the legal efforts by St. Paul’s former Wardens and Vestry members to control St. Paul’s in violation of the Canons.

Background

The dispute over St. Paul’s began when the former Wardens and Vestry members became estranged from Canon Kovoor in late 2017, roughly 12 months after they had called him to serve as their rector. When the former Wardens and Vestry members initiated a canonical process to dissolve the pastoral relation between Canon Kovoor and the Parish, the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan, worked with a team of coaches and consultants for over 18 months to try to reconcile the parties.

Because reconciliation proved elusive, Bishop Douglas announced that he would take the next step under the Canons by issuing a “godly judgment” as to whether Canon Kovoor would remain Rector of St. Paul’s. Without waiting for that judgment, the former Wardens and Vestry members attempted to fire Canon Kovoor and evict him from the rectory, in direct violation of the Canons of the Church. The former Wardens and Vestry members filed suit against Canon Kovoor claiming that he had defrauded them, in an effort to negate his employment agreement. Wanting to protect Canon Kovoor from false charges against his character and professional record, Bishop Douglas and the Episcopal Church joined in the defense of the fraud case.

In October, 2018, the Annual Convention of ECCT took the next step in the process established in the Canons to resolve an irreconcilable conflict between a Parish and its Rector. The Annual Convention voted unanimously to change the status of St. Paul’s, Darien from a Parish to a Worshiping Community. This change placed St. Paul’s under the exclusive supervision, direction, and control of Bishop Douglas and removed the former Wardens and Vestry members from their leadership roles. Bishop Douglas secured the property and appointed Canon Kovoor Priest-in-Charge of the new Worshiping Community of St. Paul’s, Darien.

The former warden and vestry responded by filing a second lawsuit, hoping to seize control of the property of St. Paul’s from ECCT.

In April, the Superior Court dismissed the first case filed by the former Wardens and Vestry members, ruling that considering the accusations of fraud against Canon Kovoor would “entangle the . . . Court . . into matters of religious hiring, religious practices and church polity” in violation of the First Amendment.

In July, the Court dismissed the second case because the former Wardens and Vestry members had failed to allege facts sufficient to invoke the jurisdiction of the Court to try to wrest possession of the property from ECCT. Indeed, the Court highlighted the fact that the former Wardens and Vestry members had themselves alleged that they voluntarily chose not to participate in services at St. Paul’s, noting that they had asserted that they “retained the choice to participate [St. Paul’s] services, but not that they were prevented or dispossessed of their right to do so.”

The dismissal of these cases allows ECCT to focus on discerning what God would want next for the people and the Worshiping Community of St. Paul’s in Darien.

Commenting on the decisions, Bishop Douglas has said:  “I thank God that the Court has unilaterally supported the position of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut by dismissing all of the legal claims asserted by the former Wardens and Vestry members of St. Paul’s, Darien. I am also thankful for the faithfulness and hard work of our legal team, Canon Kovoor, and the ECCT consultants and coaches who have labored tirelessly to bring reconciliation and wholeness to this sad circumstance. I pray that these court rulings will allow the people and Worshiping Community of St. Paul’s, Darien to move forward in God’s mission to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

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Karin Hamilton has worked at the Episcopal Church in Connecticut for 25 years. In her tenure, Karin has accrued a long and diverse set of accomplishments, of which some are listed below.

  • In the late 1990s, Karin created the first website for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, which was one of the first in The Episcopal Church and won an Episcopal Communicators award for her work.
  • Evolved a 6-issue per year print newspaper to an annual professional-quality magazine called CRUX, highlighting God’s mission and flow throughout Connecticut.
  • Established one of the first diocesan electronic newsletter, which has grown over 20 years to include an audience of over 5,000 individuals.
  • Created an informational charts depicting how Resolutions move through General Convention—which has been used by The Episcopal Church for educational purposes.
  • Live-tweeted the bishop election of the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas.
  • Initiated and shepherded a re-branding of the Diocese of Connecticut in 2014, including a new logo and branding, clear and concise language around God’s mission, and high-quality marketing materials; resulting in the current logo and look of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.
  • Spurred creation of an on-going informational bookmark series clearly highlighting the Five Baptismal Marks of Mission, God’s Mission in 100 Words, Guidelines for Mutuality, What is a Parish in the New Missional Age, and Spiritual Practices in a New Missional Age.
  • Created a one-minute video series, to feature an individual from each of the six Regions, for the 2017 Annual Convention.
  •  
  • Established reputable daily electronic newsletter coverage during the General Conventions of The Episcopal Church.
  • Created, launched, co-hosted, and edited the weekly diocesan podcast Coffee Hour at The Commons.
  • Helped to establish the new and revolutionary role of Digital Storyteller at the diocesan level.

The list of accomplishments continues on, as does our immense gratitude to Karin for her faithful dedication and incredibly hard work for the church, the people of Connecticut, and the community at The Commons. Karin has supervised many individuals within her role as Canon for Mission Communications and Media, and has worked with numerous individuals on projects, magazines, newsletters, videos, and more.

Karin has not only formed working relationships with people within the church but has developed close ties and bonds. She has always paid close attention to highlighting stories, voices, and talents of those on the margins; and has always been open to and supportive of new initiatives and different ideas from her own.

The bishops have both voiced their appreciation and thanks to God for Karin’s faithful and lasting ministries for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut.

“Karin was not only willing to creatively try on new ways of communicating with ECCT about God’s Mission including CRUX magazine and Coffee Hour at The Commons, she also invited each one of us to explore and expand the ways that we personally communicate about God’s Mission. For me, her coaching and enthusiastic support of my using video as a communication tool was a gift. I am also grateful for the ways she supported and encouraged my running hobby. I will always treasure our shared runs in Hartford, Meriden, New Hampshire and countless other places!” (The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan)

“Even before coming to Connecticut I knew of Karin’s gifts and skills in communicating the Gospel across the Church and around the world.  That’s why when I arrived in Connecticut I immediately promoted her to the status of staff Canon and made her part of the senior management team for the diocese.  As Canon for Mission Communications and Media, Karin has contributed above and beyond all expectations.  Her list of accomplishments are legion; particularly her commitment to helping people at the margins find their voices.  Above all, I have appreciated Karin’s profound faith in Jesus the Christ, and her never-ending trust in the power of the Holy Spirit.  I thank God for all that Karin has done for ECCT.  Well done, good and faithful companion in Christ.” (The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan)

We at The Commons and the whole of The Episcopal Church in Connecticut send our blessings to Karin and are forever indebted to her. Thank you, Karin, for shepherding us into new ways of doing and being the hands and feet and texts and tweets of Jesus in this world.

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LEADERSHIP GATHERING JUNE 8, 2019

The quarterly gathering of the four leadership bodies in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) – Mission Council, Standing Committee, Commission on Ministry, and trustees of Donations & Bequests (D&B) – was held Saturday June 8, 2019. Wearing an orange t-shirt with the ECCT mark, Bishop Ian T. Douglas opened the gathering with prayer for those affected by gun violence, along with information about the annual “Wear Orange” weekend that calls awareness to gun violence nationally.

The combined group spent time “Dwelling in the Word,” looking at the scripture for Pentecost, then reflecting on and discussing in pairs what “languages” they heard in their neighborhoods (broadly defined) and what the Holy Spirit might be nudging them to speak.

Suzy Burke and the Rev. Rowena Kemp, co-conveners of the Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network then gave an update on the Season and the Network’s activities. They showed a civil rights documentary from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “Faces in the Water,” followed by brief discussion on what God was calling people to do now. The Network co-conveners asked the members of the Leadership Gathering to “connect with a church or worshiping community whose congregation is racially different than you are” before its next meeting on September 14. Recommended ways to connect included worship services, Bible studies, fellowship activities, or other ways.

Canon for Mission Finance & Operations Louis Fuertes gave a high-level overview of resources followed by conversation facilitated by Canon for Mission Integrity & Training Robin Hammeal-Urban to consider where God was in the midst of those resources: “God’s Money for God’s Mission: Financial Resources of ECCT.”

The resources included $62 MM with the Missionary Society (about 2/3 of which are unrestricted) and $200 MM in parish assets, not including real estate. On a given Sunday, Canon Fuertes reported that about 10,000 Episcopalians attend worship services and in 2018, they gave about $30 MM to their parishes to support operations. Parishes received another $5 MM from fundraising and facility use fees, he reported.

Seventy percent of the Budget of Convention comes from Common Mission Support, the 10% asked of parishes, and about 30% of the Budget comes from the income of Missionary Society assets managed by D&B.

Canon Fuertes then gave a second presentation to look at changing financial circumstances. He presented charts showing a reduction in the number of large churches (looking at Average Sunday Attendance, or ASA) and a corresponding increase in the number of small churches. While more parishes are giving at the required 10% level for Common Mission Support, the data and trends show that the amount of money they’re receiving is declining, hence, the amount received by ECCT is declining and will continue to do so if trends continue.

Other factors include the sale of properties, such as when parishes close or merge and properties revert back to the Missionary Society, may increase available assets; and an increase in employee expenses, primarily because we’ve added Region Missionaries and made the positions full-time. In addition Camp Washington has gone over its budget for years, and ECCT has covered the gap.

Canon Fuertes suggested that ECCT needed to cut about $1000 in program expenses to present a balanced budget to Convention.

The different leadership groups then considered what their committee or group would recommending doing about the changing financial picture.

Commission on Ministry members suggested that they could be more efficient at recruiting on the “front end;” trustees of D&B suggested they could make the money work twice, such as investing in a fund that does social good, even creating a third fund for that if needed; Standing Committee members urged not going over the 5% spending plan on returns from investment assets and using all its resources; and Mission Council members didn’t have a specific recommendation but considered the value of more information, their responsibility for the budget, leadership questions, and recognizing the gifts of lay persons and inviting those instead of paying for outside experts.

The Gathering concluded after noonday prayers and lunch. 

Mission Council Meeting Report - June 8, 2019
  • Passed the Consent Agenda. This included minutes from the Finance Committee meeting of May 30, 2019; a report from Canon for Mission Collaboration the Rev. Tim Hodapp on property matters in Stamford, Canaan, Southport, Putnam Bristol, and Norwalk, and cemeteries in Bristol, Plymouth, and Stamford; receipt of Camp Washington financial statements; and receipt of notification from St. Alban’s, Danielson of its vote May 31 to close as a parish.
  • Received report from Canon Hodapp and CCS staffer Tiffany Reed on ECCT’s “Joining Jesus” initiative.
    • From Canon Hodapp, focused on spiritual practices: 130 clergy and lay persons, from 29 parishes, attended info sessions. The Cathedral plus 10 parishes have signed on to participate in a four-module program over the 2019-2020 year to focus on learning and implementing five spiritual practices (St. Monica’s, Hartford; Grace, Hartford; Trinity, Brooklyn; St. John’s, Vernon; Trinity, Torrington; St. Peter’s, Cheshire; Christ’s Church, Easton; St. John’s, Essex; L’Eglise de l’Epiphanie, Stamford; and St. Mark’s, New Britain).
    • From Tiffany Reed, focused on raising financial resources: met with clergy and 1-2 lay leaders at 74 parishes or worshiping communities to share information and listen to concerns; conducted 15 “rapid studies” at a subset of those and learned 35 more were interested but at a later date; interviewed 229 parishioners during the “rapid study” phase; signed up five parishes (Christ Church, Bethany; Emmanuel, Weston; St. James’, Glastonbury; St. Monica’s’, Hartford, and Trinity, Brooklyn) and the Cathedral to conduct campaigns. Campaigns collectively hope to raise $3.1 MM and have already received more than $800 K in gifts and pledges. CCS consultancy is free to parishes, as the fees were paid from Missionary Society funds authorized by the Mission Council. Twenty percent of funds raised by each will go toward one of four ECCT-wide projects, of their choosing. These include support for Regions (entrepreneurial fund); Camp Washington; Christ Church Cathedral; and intentional Christian communities.
    • Held a discussion following each presentation; longer for the second report;
  • Received report from Canon for Mission Finance & Operations Louis Fuertes:
    • Reviewed and accepted ECCT’s financial reports (Q1 Income Statement and Combined Balance Sheet) showing revenues of $1.58 MM is closely tracking budget predictions; expenses at 21% of full-year budget with program expenses at 15% of full-year; all in line with prior years;
    • Learned that ECCT audits should be completed by September 1, 2019
    • Reviewed budget planning process
    • Reviewed parish compliance and learned of overall increase
  • Discussed engaging Mission Council in budgeting process.
  • Approved grants as submitted:
    • Sustainable Development Fund: $10K for Jerusalem Peacebuilders’ pilot EXCEL teacher training program for 2019;
    • Mission Development Fund: $10,500 to include: $5000 for Your Place at St. Monica’s, Hartford; $3000 to Laundry Love, St. James, Danbury; and $2500 to SE and SC and SC Region for CT River Pilgrimage
  • Deferred grants to parishes in low-income communities to provide time for 25 potential grant recipients to bring themselves into Good Standing
  • Received report from Canon for Mission Leadership the Rev. Lee Ann Tolzmann that the Priesthood Models Task Force requested at the 2018 Convention to address questions around part-time clergy has been identified (the Rev. Whitney Altopp; the Rev. Michael Carroll, the Rev. Lucy LaRocca, the Rev. Nik Combs; Lynne Ide, and another senior warden still discerning); and voted to appoint those;
  • Heard report from the “Open Communion” Task Force, a subset of the Liturgy Commission, requested at the 2018 Convention, which has been working on clarifying language and its mandate since learning that “Open Communion” is often confused with communion for the unbaptized and they believe Convention wanted to address the latter;
  • Heard a report from the Rev. Rebekah Hatch, clergy delegate to Province One, encouraging people to explore Province1.org to learn about Province-wide Ministry Networks; then heard from Bishop Ian T. Douglas about changes the Province is exploring regarding its structure from one that supports institutions to one that convenes ministry networks.
  • Adjourned until the next meeting, September 14, 2019.
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Dear Companions in Christ,
 
Image by He Qi (c)2014 used w permission
Happy Easter! Blessings on this most Holy of Days! The story of the Resurrection of Jesus claims our day, and our lives! Alleluia! We claim and proclaim Alleluia!
 
We claim the truth of the Resurrection in the honest light of our present stories. What a week we have had. What a Holy Week! Our journey to the cross this year has included our grief at the death of our brother Jack Spaeth, faithful servant to the Episcopal Church in Connecticut for decades, while the same day we watched the historic Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris become engulfed in flames. We hold these two losses and countless others as we journey to the cross witnessing the death of our Lord on Good Friday. Our stories mingling with Christ’s story, our tears a mixture of emotions for the past and for our present as well.
 
But our faith is an Easter faith! Jesus Christ is Risen from the dead! The tomb is empty, the hope is true! God is the God of compassion and new life and we claim that joy! We see it in the resurrection of our Lord! We know it when we think about our dear friend Jack Spaeth now embraced in the arms of the God he served so well. We know it in the reality that Notre Dame, a Cathedral that has held the prayers of countless pilgrims from around the world for centuries, faithful men and women praying to the God of resurrection, will be restored and have new life.
 
Claiming Alleluia is an audacious act of life in the face of death. We are to claim such life in our own lives and then share it with others. Mary at the tomb, believing in the truth of the resurrection went and told others what she had seen and heard. Our Alleluias must do the same! Proclaiming Alleluia in word and action, speaking out against injustice and binding up the broken-hearted.
 
The world needs our Alleluia. God is calling us to claim it and proclaim it! The tomb is empty. New life is real. How shall you claim and proclaim this glorious truth?
 
Alleluia! Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen indeed!
 
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas                                     The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens
Bishop Diocesan                                                      Bishop Suffragan
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Dear Companions in Christ:
 
We write with sad news. Our friend and brother in Christ, Jack Spaeth, died this morning after a long illness. Jack had been in hospice for months in Portland, CT where he was lovingly cared for by his wife of over fifty-two years, Susan. Susan is doing as well as can be expected, and is thankful that Jack’s suffering in this mortal life has come to an end. In addition to Susan, Jack leaves behind his daughter Christian Stuart Spaeth and her husband David R. Spencer, his grandchildren Jack Charles Spencer and Holden Pierce Spencer all of Santa Cruz, CA and his son John Holden Spaeth of San Francisco, CA.
 
Jack was born and raised in Middletown where he was a life-long member of Church of the Holy Trinity, serving as a member of the vestry, choir, finance, building and investment committees, and as its Warden. He was educated in Middletown and at (Northfield) Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts and graduated with a BS in Business Administration from the University of Hartford. Jack served in the army from 1958-1960 before beginning a career in insurance and real estate working for Aetna Life and Casualty in Hartford and McCutcheon and Burr in Middletown.
 
In 1980 Jack came to work for the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. Arthur Walmsley, Diocesan Bishop. Jack would continue to serve under four bishops diocesan for thirty-two years, retiring in 2012 as Canon for Stewardship and Administration.
 
Jack’s life and ministry had an indelible impact on the Episcopal Church in Connecticut and beyond. He was the initiator of a health insurance plan for the Episcopal dioceses in New England and, along with Bishop Walmsley and his Chancellor Ed Hebb, was the founder of the Province One Chancellors and Bishops Conference. 
 
The door to Jack’s office at Diocesan House, 1335 Asylum Avenue in Hartford, was always open both to welcome any and all that came to visit as well as to keep his eye on staff and the goings on in Diocesan House. Upon entering Jack’s office one would encounter mountains of papers and folders, piled high on every available surface.  Yet Jack always knew what was where, and he could pull the needed letter or document from the bottom of a pile without missing a beat.
 
Jack’s availability in his office was surpassed only by his readiness to consult with any and all lay and ordained leaders in times of trouble or need. Seemingly at all hours of the day and night, Jack was available by phone to help solve a parish’s or individual’s problem or answer a question. During his tenure, the counsel to “Call Jack” were the most often repeated words across the diocese. And when we did “call Jack,” he would always deliver.
 
Jack had a passion for “this fragile earth, our island home.” He was committed to assisting the church to pursue sustainable environmental practices and programs, and helped to organize the Connecticut Interreligious Eco-Justice Network. Upon his retirement, the Episcopal Church in Connecticut recognized his commitment to environmental activism by inaugurating the annual Jack Spaeth Care for Creation Grant, given to parishes across our diocese who share Jack’s commitment to the sustainability of creation.
 
A service of thanksgiving for Jack’s mortal life and new life in the Resurrection will be held at Christ Church Cathedral in Hartford in June in order to accommodate schedules for member of his extended family. Details for the service will be communicated widely once they are finalized.  Contributions in Jack’s memory may be made to the Jack Spaeth Care for Creation Fund c/o The Episcopal Church in Connecticut, 290 Pratt St., Box 52, Meriden, CT, 06450  
 
With Jack’s death, we have lost a pillar of the church of the 20th century. His faithfulness, graciousness, humor, hard-work, wisdom, and love and care for all will be remembered for years to come. In Jack we were blessed with a disciple of Jesus who dedicated his life to extending God’s mission of restoration and reconciliation to all, particularly those in need.  It is poignant that Jack, a faithful churchman to the end, died as we begin this Holy Week together. We thank God that for Jack, Easter has come early this year.
 
Well done, good and faithful servant.
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas                                               The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens
Bishop Diocesan                                                                Bishop Suffragan
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The four ECCT leadership groups held their quarterly meeting on March 9. These include members of Mission Council, Commission on Ministry, Standing Committee, and trustees of Donations & Bequests. (See more on the "Governance" page.)

The morning program began with a presentation by Canon for Mission Leadership the Rev. Lee Ann Tolzman on the reality of -- and some reasons behind -- the church-wide clergy shortage, particularly for the primarily part-time parish clergy positions available, and the impact this has on lay leaders who must now update their expectations and take on more work. Those present then worked on the impact of this information on their emotional feelings, then broke into their four Leadership Groups to brainstorm how they could help address the crisis.

In the second half of the morning members gathered in small groups to discuss questions posed by ECCT's Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network related to the chapter of Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (by Kelly Brown Douglas) which they'd read in advance as homework for the Leadership Gathering.

The Mission Council, which met after lunch, took the following actions:

  • Heard status of litigation involving St. Paul's, Darien and an update on its new Council of Advice;
  • Learned that an organization interested in purchasing Christ Church, Canaan has started a fundraising campaign for that purpose;
  • Voted and approved resolutions specifying terms that allow the Missionary Society to sell the former Christ the Healer church in Stamford for $1.4 million to a Coptic Orthodox Church, also of Stamford;
  • Received an update on the status of ministries and collaborative efforts by Episcopal churches in Stamford;
  • Heard a detailed report on the status of ECCT finances, including: Revenue for 2018 was $88K better than budgeted and total expenses better than budget by $58K thanks to using $273K in the Contingency line; the 2018 operating surplus of just over 400K. Compared to 2017, revenues in 2018 were $61K lower, expenses in 2018 were almost $600K higher, and the 2018 operating surplus was $656K lower; Council  members accepted the Q4 Income Statement and Q4 Balance sheet for audit;
  • Heard a status report on renovations at Camp Washington;
  • Heard discussion about Camp Washington's financial management and recommendations to address those, and decided to determine the ecclesiastical relationship between Camp and ECCT as a first step;
  • Discussed ways to improve the process for recruiting volunteers to Mission Council committees and task forces;
  • Approved HR policy revisions and Model Safe Church policy revisions;
  • Received an update on the Joining Jesus initiative, which has both parish-based fundraising and parish-based spiritual practices components;
  • Received updates from the four "Convention Conversations" around the questions and related resolutions adopted at the 2018 Annual Convention. Three have progressed; the task force on clergy models has yet to be formed;
  • Received reports on the audit process and an extensive presentation of ECCT finances;
  • Approved a Revolving Loan request from St. Andrew's, Meriden;
  • Approved the Property Committee's recommended Property Improvement Grants (these 19 grants totaled $27,550 and ranged from $300 to $5000);
  • Revised last December's Trinity South Norwalk grant recommendations based on review of original documents establishing the funds, in order to remain consistent with those restrictions; these grants included those to Christ Church, East Norwalk; St. Paul's, Norwalk; Norwalk Mentoring Program; and IRIS. 
  • Approved the investment draw proposal from St. Mark's, New Britain, that will bring it back into compliance with canons;
  • Approved adding completion of the parish survey to the requirements for designation of "Parish in Good Standing" status;
  • Approved two grant recommendations from the Jack Spaeth Care for Creation Committee, one to St. James', New London and the other to a proposed 2019 River Pilgrimage.

The next meeting of the Mission Council takes place in June 2019. Mission Council members include one lay person and one clergy person from each of the six Regions, selected by their Region in whatever process the Region chooses, and nine representatives from Ministry Networks, elected at the Annual Convention. In addition, the bishops, chancellor, treasurer, assistant treasurer, secretary of the diocese, and secretary of convention are members. ECCT canons and/or other staff participate as appropriate.

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Available as an online newsletter here. 

Letter from the Bishops of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut
Please see below for the Bishops' letter in Spanish.
Por favor, vea a continuación la carta de los obispos en Español

Dear Companions in Christ,

We write to you to inform you of temporary changes to the clergy disciplinary canons regarding sexual misconduct as enacted by our 2018 General Convention, and to invite you to consider coming forward if you have experienced, witnessed, or learned of clergy sexual misconduct in our church.

The General Convention decided that from January 1, 2019 until December 31, 2021, anyone who has been affected, directly or indirectly, by sexual misconduct at any time in the past by a person ordained in The Episcopal Church can initiate disciplinary action against the member of the clergy who engaged in the misconduct.

Sexual misconduct by clergy includes any of the following:

  • Any sexual behavior that is unwelcome, by force, intimidation, coercion or manipulation
  • Sexual activity of any kind with an employee, volunteer, student, or counselee in the cleric’s congregation, or with a person with whom the cleric has, or has had, a pastoral relationship
  • Comments or jokes by clergy toward either gender that are sexual in nature
  • Someone made to feel “less than” by a cleric’s behaviors or comments based on gender

Anyone who has experienced, witnessed, or learned in any manner of sexual misconduct by a member of the clergy may report the misconduct to one of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut’s (ECCT) three Intake Officers. ECCT’s Intake Officers have been trained to receive reports of this kind in a pastoral manner, and to start the necessary process of response. Additional information on the Clergy Disciplinary Process, including contact information for ECCT’s Intake Officers, can be found on the ECCT website at: https://www.episcopalct.org/Find-Resources/Ordained-Leaders/Clergy-Disciplinary-Process/. Any person may contact an Intake Officer without having to identify themselves, or can agree to be identified in later proceedings if the person so chooses.

The 2018 General Convention of The Episcopal Church also recognized, in a variety of ways, that the sin of gender-based violence has permeated the life of the church. All gender-based violence stems from attitudes that one gender is less than another. Globally and in our own nation, people who identify as women are valued and/or treated “less than” men. These attitudes are reflected in language and behaviors. Gender-based violence includes a wide range of behaviors from words and actions that are dismissive or have the impact of disenfranchising a woman, to sexual harassment, and sexual assault.

All sexual misconduct and gender-based violence, whether perpetrated by clergy or laity is sinful; it disrespects others, erodes right-relationship with others and God, and tears at the body of Christ. If you have experienced, witnessed, or learned of sexual misconduct by a member of the clergy, please contact one of ECCT’s Intake Officers. If you have concerns about sexual misconduct by laity, please bring it to the attention of a member of the clergy or to the lay leadership of your faith community.

If you have any questions about the information in this letter, please feel free to contact us and/or Robin Hammeal-Urban, Canon for Mission Integrity and Training for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut who can be reached at: rurban@episcopalct.org.

Thank you for your attention to these serious matters. Please share this information in your parish and beyond. We pray that, working together, the Body of Christ can become a safe and blessed community where we are genuinely restored to unity with God and each other in Christ.

Faithfully,
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan
The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan

Apreciados compañeros y compañeras en Cristo,

Le escribimos para informarle sobre los cambios temporales en los cánones disciplinarios del clero con respecto a la conducta sexual inapropiada según lo estipulado por nuestra Convención General del 2018, y les invitamos a considerar la posibilidad de comunicar si ha experimentado, presenciado o aprendido sobre la conducta sexual inapropiada del clero en nuestra iglesia.

La Convención General decidió que, desde el 1 de enero de 2019 hasta el 31 de diciembre de 2021, cualquier persona que haya sido afectada, directa o indirectamente, por conducta sexual inapropiada en cualquier momento en el pasado por una persona ordenada en la Iglesia Episcopal puede iniciar una acción disciplinaria contra el miembro del clero que exhibió mala conducta.

La mala conducta sexual por parte del clero incluye cualquiera de los siguientes:

  • Cualquier comportamiento sexual que no sea de conceso mutuo, por la fuerza,intimidación, coerción o manipulación.
  • Actividad sexual de cualquier tipo con un empleado, voluntario, estudiante o pupilo en la congregación del clérigo, o con una persona con quien el clérigo tiene o ha tenido una relación pastoral.
  • Comentarios o chistes del clero hacia cualquier género que sean de naturaleza sexual.
  • Alguien hecho sentir inferior por los comportamientos de un clérigo o comentarios basados ​​en el género.

Cualquier persona que haya experimentado, presenciado o aprendido de cualquier tipo de conducta sexual inapropiada por parte de un miembro del clero puede denunciar la conducta indebida a uno de los tres Oficiales de Admisión de la Iglesia Episcopal en Connecticut (ECCT). Los Oficiales de Admisión del ECCT han sido capacitados para recibir informes de este tipo de manera pastoral y para iniciar el proceso de respuesta necesario. Puede encontrar información adicional sobre el Proceso Disciplinario del Clero, incluyendo la información de contacto para los Oficiales de Admisión de ECCT, en el sitio web de ECCT en:
https://www.episcopalct.org/Find-Resources/Ordained-Leaders/Clergy-Disciplinario-Process/. Cualquier persona puede comunicarse con un Oficial de Admisión sin tener que identificarse, o puede aceptar ser identificado en procedimientos posteriores si la persona así lo decide.

La Convención General del 2018 de la Iglesia Episcopal también reconoció, de diversas maneras, que el pecado de la violencia de género ha permeado la vida de la iglesia. Toda violencia de género proviene de las actitudes que asumen que un género es menor que otro. A nivel mundial y en nuestra propia nación, las personas que se identifican como mujeres son valoradas y / o tratadas de manera inferior a los hombres. Estas actitudes se reflejan en el lenguaje y las conductas. La violencia basada en el género incluye una amplia gama de comportamientos, desde palabras y acciones desdeñosas o que tienen el impacto de privar de derechos a una mujer hasta el acoso sexual y el asalto sexual.

Toda conducta sexual inapropiada y violencia de género, ya sea perpetrada por el clero o los laicos, es pecaminosa; no respeta a los demás, erosiona la relación correcta con los demás y con Dios, y desgarra el cuerpo de Cristo. Si ha experimentado, presenciado o aprendido sobre conducta sexual inapropiada por parte de un miembro del clero, comuníquese con uno de los Oficiales de Admisión de ECCT. Si le preocupa la conducta sexual inapropiada de los laicos, comuníqueselo a un miembro del clero o al liderazgo laico de su comunidad de fe.

Si tiene alguna pregunta acerca de la información en esta carta, no dude en comunicarse con nosotros o con Robin Hammeal-Urban, Canóniga para la Integridad de la Misión y Capacitación para la Iglesia Episcopal en Connecticut, a quien puede contactar por correo electrónico: rurban@episcopalct.org

Gracias por su atención a estos asuntos serios. Por favor, comparta esta información en su parroquia y más allá. Oramos para que, trabajando juntos, el Cuerpo de Cristo pueda convertirse en una comunidad segura y bendecida en la que somos verdaderamente restaurados a la unidad con Dios y con los demás en Cristo.

Fielmente,

Rvdmo. Ian T. Douglas, Obispo Diocesano

Rvdma. Laura J Ahrens, Obispa Sufragánea

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Dear Companions in Christ,

We write to you to inform you of temporary changes to the clergy disciplinary canons regarding sexual misconduct as enacted by our 2018 General Convention, and to invite you to consider coming forward if you have experienced, witnessed, or learned of clergy sexual misconduct in our church. 

The General Convention decided that from January 1, 2019 until December 31, 2021, anyone who has been affected, directly or indirectly, by sexual misconduct at any time in the past by a person ordained in The Episcopal Church can initiate disciplinary action against the member of the clergy who engaged in the misconduct.

Sexual misconduct by clergy includes any of the following:
  • Any sexual behavior that is unwelcome, by force, intimidation, coercion or manipulation
  • Sexual activity of any kind with an employee, volunteer, student, or counselee in the cleric’s congregation, or with a person with whom the cleric has, or has had, a pastoral relationship
  • Comments or jokes by clergy toward either gender that are sexual in nature
  • Someone made to feel “less than” by a cleric’s behaviors or comments based on gender
Anyone who has experienced, witnessed, or learned in any manner of sexual misconduct by a member of the clergy may report the misconduct to one of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut’s (ECCT) three Intake Officers. ECCT’s Intake Officers have been trained to receive reports of this kind in a pastoral manner, and to start the necessary process of response. Additional information on the Clergy Disciplinary Process, including contact information for ECCT’s Intake Officers, can be found on the ECCT website at: https://www.episcopalct.org/Find-Resources/Ordained-Leaders/Clergy-Disciplinary-Process/. Any person may contact an Intake Officer without having to identify themselves, or can agree to be identified in later proceedings if the person so chooses.

The 2018 General Convention of The Episcopal Church also recognized, in a variety of ways, that the sin of gender-based violence has permeated the life of the church. All gender-based violence stems from attitudes that one gender is less than another. Globally and in our own nation, people who identify as women are valued and/or treated “less than” men. These attitudes are reflected in language and behaviors. Gender-based violence includes a wide range of behaviors from words and actions that are dismissive or have the impact of disenfranchising a woman, to sexual harassment, and sexual assault.  

All sexual misconduct and gender-based violence, whether perpetrated by clergy or laity is sinful; it disrespects others, erodes right-relationship with others and God, and tears at the body of Christ. If you have experienced, witnessed, or learned of sexual misconduct by a member of the clergy, please contact one of ECCT’s Intake Officers. If you have concerns about sexual misconduct by laity, please bring it to the attention of a member of the clergy or to the lay leadership of your faith community.

If you have any questions about the information in this letter, please feel free to contact us and/or Robin Hammeal-Urban, Canon for Mission Integrity and Training for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut who can be reached at: rurban@episcopalct.org.  

Thank you for your attention to these serious matters. Please share this information in your parish and beyond. We pray that, working together, the Body of Christ can become a safe and blessed community where we are genuinely restored to unity with God and each other in Christ.

Faithfully,
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan
The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan 
Apreciados compañeros y compañeras en Cristo,

Le escribimos para informarle sobre los cambios temporales en los cánones disciplinarios del clero con respecto a la conducta sexual inapropiada según lo estipulado por nuestra Convención General del 2018, y les invitamos a considerar la posibilidad de comunicar si ha experimentado, presenciado o aprendido sobre la conducta sexual inapropiada del clero en nuestra iglesia.

La Convención General decidió que, desde el 1 de enero de 2019 hasta el 31 de diciembre de 2021, cualquier persona que haya sido afectada, directa o indirectamente, por conducta sexual inapropiada en cualquier momento en el pasado por una persona ordenada en la Iglesia Episcopal puede iniciar una acción disciplinaria contra el miembro del clero que exhibió mala conducta.

La mala conducta sexual por parte del clero incluye cualquiera de los siguientes:
  • Cualquier comportamiento sexual que no sea de conceso mutuo, por la fuerza,intimidación, coerción o manipulación.
  • Actividad sexual de cualquier tipo con un empleado, voluntario, estudiante o pupilo en la congregación del clérigo, o con una persona con quien el clérigo tiene o ha tenido una relación pastoral.
  • Comentarios o chistes del clero hacia cualquier género que sean de naturaleza sexual.
  • Alguien hecho sentir inferior por los comportamientos de un clérigo o comentarios basados ​​en el género.
Cualquier persona que haya experimentado, presenciado o aprendido de cualquier tipo de conducta sexual inapropiada por parte de un miembro del clero puede denunciar la conducta indebida a uno de los tres Oficiales de Admisión de la Iglesia Episcopal en Connecticut (ECCT). Los Oficiales de Admisión del ECCT han sido capacitados para recibir informes de este tipo de manera pastoral y para iniciar el proceso de respuesta necesario. Puede encontrar información adicional sobre el Proceso Disciplinario del Clero, incluyendo la información de contacto para los Oficiales de Admisión de ECCT, en el sitio web de ECCT en: https://www.episcopalct.org/Find-Resources/Ordained-Leaders/Clergy-Disciplinario-Process/. Cualquier persona puede comunicarse con un Oficial de Admisión sin tener que identificarse, o puede aceptar ser identificado en procedimientos posteriores si la persona así lo decide.

La Convención General del 2018 de la Iglesia Episcopal también reconoció, de diversas maneras, que el pecado de la violencia de género ha permeado la vida de la iglesia. Toda violencia de género proviene de las actitudes que asumen que un género es menor que otro. A nivel mundial y en nuestra propia nación, las personas que se identifican como mujeres son valoradas y / o tratadas de manera inferior a los hombres. Estas actitudes se reflejan en el lenguaje y las conductas. La violencia basada en el género incluye una amplia gama de comportamientos, desde palabras y acciones desdeñosas o que tienen el impacto de privar de derechos a una mujer hasta el acoso sexual y el asalto sexual.

Toda conducta sexual inapropiada y violencia de género, ya sea perpetrada por el clero o los laicos, es pecaminosa; no respeta a los demás, erosiona la relación correcta con los demás y con Dios, y desgarra el cuerpo de Cristo. Si ha experimentado, presenciado o aprendido sobre conducta sexual inapropiada por parte de un miembro del clero, comuníquese con uno de los Oficiales de Admisión de ECCT. Si le preocupa la conducta sexual inapropiada de los laicos, comuníqueselo a un miembro del clero o al liderazgo laico de su comunidad de fe.

Si tiene alguna pregunta acerca de la información en esta carta, no dude en comunicarse con nosotros o con Robin Hammeal-Urban, Canóniga para la Integridad de la Misión y Capacitación para la Iglesia Episcopal en Connecticut, a quien puede contactar por correo electrónico: rurban@episcopalct.org


Gracias por su atención a estos asuntos serios. Por favor, comparta esta información en su parroquia y más allá. Oramos para que, trabajando juntos, el Cuerpo de Cristo pueda convertirse en una comunidad segura y bendecida en la que somos verdaderamente restaurados a la unidad con Dios y con los demás en Cristo.

Fielmente,
Rvdmo. Ian T. Douglas, Obispo Diocesano
Rvdma. Laura J Ahrens, Obispa Sufragánea
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January 16, 2019
 
The Mission Council of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) voted at its December 8, 2018 quarterly meeting to support a new diocesan-wide initiative for parishes and Regions entitled, “Joining Jesus in a New Missional Age.” It has two components: to encourage spiritual practices that support spiritual transformation of individuals and communities, and to support raising new financial resources for more fully participating God’s mission. A limited number of parishes will be in this pilot project.
 
The spiritual formation aspect of the initiative is an extension of the “Living Local, Joining God” (LLJG) multi-parish diocesan-wide project here in ECCT for the past three years, in conjunction with missiologist Alan Roxburgh and The Missional Network (TMN). At the heart of this work are the spiritual practices of listening, discerning, trying on, reflecting and deciding. As LLJG comes to a close, TMN along with ECCT bishops and staff are re-imagining this process with the intention of offering it to additional parishes in the diocese.
 
Efforts to raise new financial resources in parishes and the six Regions in ECCT grows out of the “Region Needs Assessment” undertaken in 2018 by CCS, a fundraising team hired by ECCT, in response to resolutions passed at Annual Convention (Resolution 4, “Next Steps in God’s Mission” in 2016 and Resolution 9, “Assessing our Resources for Participating in God's Mission” in 2017.) This component is also an extension of the invitation from Bishop Ian T. Douglas in his Address to the 2018 Annual Convention of ECCT, during which he invited parishes to partner with diocesan staff to move forward in new ways in God’s mission.
 
The Mission Council in its December meeting decided to provide funding for consultants from both CCS and TMN to help initiate Joining Jesus in a New Missional Age as a pilot project, starting in January 2019, for a limited number of parishes. It can be expanded and extended later, if approved by Mission Council.
 
ECCT bishops and canons, particularly Canon for Mission Collaboration the Rev. Tim Hodapp, will work with the consultants to identify the parishes that might wish to engage in one, or both, aspects of the initiative. Members of CCS’s staff will work from The Commons and with parishes starting in early January. CCS staff will also work with the bishops to identify other individuals interested in supporting ECCT’s efforts. 
 
Commenting on the pilot project, Bishop Diocesan Ian T. Douglas said, “I am so excited about the possibility of bringing together spiritual formation for a new missional age with the development of new financial resources for parishes and our ECCT Regions. I look forward to working with parishes, individuals and the consultants from CCS and The Missional Network as we seek to join Jesus in God’s mission in our neighborhoods in this new missional age.”
-------------------
 (Contact Tiffany Reed, of CCS, by email at treed@episcopalct.org)
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Dear Companions in Christ:

At our 2018 Annual Convention of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) clergy and lay delegates passed the resolution, “Affirming Racial Justice, Healing and Reconciliation.” This resolution was informed by the concerted efforts of the Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network and the work undertaken by our ECCT Leadership Gathering (Mission Council, Standing Committee, Commission on Ministry, and Donations & Bequests) in response to the 2017 Annual Convention resolution, “Affirming Racial Reconciliation.

Our recent Convention’s action was comprehensive and called for specific actions and we commend the 2018 resolution to you in its entirety. To begin with, the resolution launched a Season of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut to last a minimum of two years. The goals of the Season are to: introduce foundational concepts, language, and tools to help encourage and enable congregations to begin opening hearts and minds; acknowledge the reality of white supremacy and bias against people of color; and awaken Episcopalians in Connecticut to the need for concerted action to address the ongoing injustice of the racial divide. We recognize this is work many of us have already engaged in various ways for a long time. We also recognize that while the resolution invites us into this work for a minimum of two years, we will be committed to this work for the rest of our lives. 

The resolution sets aside the second Sunday in February 2019 as a Day of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation in ECCT during which parishes are asked to begin a conversation about the sin of racism in our lives and in the world. We ask that you take seriously the call of Convention for this second Sunday in February. Resources to assist your parish with this Day of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation, as well as the Season of the same, can be found on the website of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, here. As more resources are added, these will be announced in the weekly eNewsetters from ECCT.

Member of the Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network are available to work with you and your parish in our call to undo the racism in our lives, and in our church, and in our world. Contact either Suzy Burke or the Rev. Rowena Kemp to begin this conversation.

We encourage all clergy and lay leaders in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut to begin to plan how you will live into the actions of our Convention resolution in 2019 and beyond. In our ministries, we seek to build up the one body and make space for these holy conversations. This is a season of growth and transformation for all of us. We are committed to making progress toward racial healing, justice, and reconciliation across ECCT over the next few years. We look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Faithfully,
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas   The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens  
Bishop Diocesan                     Bishop Suffragan
 

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